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a game of musical chairs

A situation in which people or things are moved, shuffled, or rearranged from one position to another. After the boss resigned, it was a regular game of musical chairs in the company to figure out who would take over for whom. It's been a game of musical chairs trying to create enough space in the living room for Alex's birthday party this weekend.
See also: chair, game, musical, of

accompany someone on a musical instrument

to provide complementary instrumental music for someone's musical performance. Sally accompanied the singer on the piano.
See also: accompany, musical

play musical chairs

to move people from one organization or job to another The teams play musical chairs at that position - all of the top punters have played for at least two teams.
Usage notes: also used in the form a game of musical chairs: Buckley was reassigned in a game of corporate musical chairs Thursday.
Etymology: based on the children's game in which there is one more player than there are chairs and the players walk in a circle around the chairs until music stops playing, at which time they hurry to the nearest empty chair
See also: chair, musical, play

musical chairs, play

Move around from position to position, such as the jobs in an organization. For example, Bob took over for Tom, who took over for Mary, who got Bob's title-the boss loves to play musical chairs with the staff . This expression alludes to the children's game in which children walk around a number of seats while music plays, and there is one less chair than players. When the music stops the players must sit down, and the player who is left standing is eliminated. Then another chair is removed, and the game goes on until only one player is left sitting. [c. 1900]
See also: musical, play

musical beds

n. acts of sexual promiscuity; sleeping with many people. (From the name of the game musical chairs.) Mary has been playing musical beds for about a year.
See also: bed, musical
References in classic literature ?
You had better throw that idea out of your mind and go ahead with your musical telegraph, which if it is successful will make you a millionaire.
But the longer Bell toiled at his musical telegraph, the more he dreamed of replacing the telegraph and its cumbrous sign-language by a new machine that would carry, not dots and dashes, but the human voice.
But I've been musical always, since first my life began.
The girl wiped her hands, crossed her feet on the little island of carpet where she was stranded in a sea of soap-suds, and then, sure enough, out of her slender throat came the swallow's twitter, the robin's whistle, the blue-jay's call, the thrush's song, the wood-dove's coo, and many another familiar note, all ending as before with the musical ecstacy of a bobolink singing and swinging among the meadow grass on a bright June day.
And although Coverdale was not so great a scholar as Tyndale, his language was fine and stately, with a musical ring about the words, and to this day we still keep his version of the Psalms in the Prayer Book.
Having already decided on adopting, as a means of living, the calling of a concert-singer, she has arranged to place her interests in the hands of an old friend of her late mother (who appears to have belonged also to the musical profession): a dramatic and musical agent long established in the metropolis, and well known to her as a trustworthy and respectable man.
Questions to be asked in regard to external style are such as these: Is it good or bad, careful or careless, clear and easy or confused and difficult; simple or complex; terse and forceful (perhaps colloquial) or involved and stately; eloquent, balanced, rhythmical; vigorous, or musical, languid, delicate and decorative; varied or monotonous; plain or figurative; poor or rich in connotation and poetic suggestiveness; beautiful, or only clear and strong?
Even so, as I maintain, neither we nor our guardians, whom we have to educate, can ever become musical until we and they know the essential forms, in all their combinations, and can recognise them and their images wherever they are found, not slighting them either in small things or great, but believing them all to be within the sphere of one art and study.
I was exerting myself to sing and play for the amusement, and at the request, of my aunt and Milicent, before the gentlemen came into the drawing-room (Miss Wilmot never likes to waste her musical efforts on ladies' ears alone).
The great Bootmann had arrived at that part of the Nightmare Sonata in which musical sound, produced principally with the left hand, is made to describe, beyond all possibility of mistake, the rising of the moon in a country church-yard and a dance of Vampires round a maiden's grave.
First, it is well known that the prologue serves the critic for an opportunity to try his faculty of hissing, and to tune his cat-call to the best advantage; by which means, I have known those musical instruments so well prepared, that they have been able to play in full concert at the first rising of the curtain.
He tried to avoid meeting musical connoisseurs or talkative acquaintances, and stood looking at the floor straight before him, listening.
Crisparkle, Minor Canon, early riser, musical, classical, cheerful, kind, good-natured, social, contented, and boy-like; Mr.
My aunt's favourite musical pieces were on the piano.
Count of the Holy Roman Empire, Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Brazen Crown, Perpetual Arch-Master of the Rosicrucian Masons of Mesopotamia; Attached (in Honorary Capacities) to Societies Musical, Societies Medical, Societies Philosophical, and Societies General Benevolent, throughout Europe; etc.